October, 18th 2007
Jeb Bush, Jr. gets behind Giuliani
– Liz Mair
Wow. This is a severe kick in the pants for Romney.
Jeb Bush, Jr. isn't as important a figure in Florida politics as his dad (the actual former governor and brother of the President). But still, he's a pretty big name, and the endorsement does suggest that Romney hasn't quite captured the imagination of Jeb Bush's immediate family as he presumably had hoped to do. From Team Giuliani:
The Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign today announced the endorsement of Jeb Bush Jr. Bush joins the Giuliani campaign as Chairman of Florida Young Professionals for Rudy.
“As someone who grew up around politics and candidates, I know that Rudy has the leadership qualities and unmatched experience to be the next President of the United States. I’m honored to join his campaign and look forward to working with the many young professionals throughout Florida supporting the Mayor,” Bush said.
Bush’s activities with the campaign will focus on building grassroots support in South Florida and the recruitment of young professionals across the state.
Readers will remember that earlier this year, Romney fell out with Jeb Bush after going on a rampage bashing comprehensive immigration reform. His actions didn't sit well with the former Governor, whose wife hails from Mexico, and who evidently has a less hawkish position on immigration than that which Romney has been trying to project.
Although Jeb Bush, Jr.'s statement doesn't allude to that falling out being connected to his decision to back Rudy, my guess is that it has something to do with it. My gut tells me that if your mother comes from Mexico, you're going to be uncomfortable with a guy who projects an image that looks, on the face of it, anti-hispanic immigration, and certainly not favorable to the idea of a lot of Mexican immigrants to the United States being able to legalize themselves and fully integrate with American society.
Of course, the fact that Rudy has shown a lot of strength in Florida, and looks like the guy best able to capture the support of independents come the 2008 general election (and thereby keep the state) probably also explains the endorsement to a large degree. But in any event, this has got to hurt a little for Romney, who may be wondering at this stage just how much he ired the Bushes, as a whole, with his immigration rhetoric.